The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

Free…To Whom?

Posted · 68 Comments

My small boys wake each morning and come directly to the kitchen table, still rubbing the sleep from their eyes.  I send them to wash while I pile on their plate either eggs and potatoes and toast or oatmeal with honey and butter. Sometimes we have peanut butter toast and a sliced pear and once in a while, we treat ourselves to cold cereal when we’re just too lazy.

And then they load in the car and I drop them off at school where they shed their backpacks in the foyer and as soon as they think I’m not looking, beeline for the free breakfast program in the cafeteria.

“But it’s free,” they argue when I tell them to stop doing it.

Free…to who?

I love that we live someplace where we have programs like this. I appreciate the availability of a free breakfast for those who may not get a hearty meal at home.  And I’m aware of my community needs enough to realize it’s probably even more prevalent than I realize.  Kids certainly need a good breakfast and some, no doubt, are not going to get it at home.

Mine are.  And when they spew the words, “But it’s free…” it makes me cringe because it is not free. It has a value and somebody, somewhere, has paid for the product.

And maybe I’m putting too much thought into it. I mean, the food is there. There is plenty of it. It is being offered, and they want to partake.  Why should I not just let them indulge?

Because free is not free.  There is always a price to be paid by someone and just because something is free to me…does not mean there is not a cost.

And part of the price of the “free” breakfast is raising children who believe that just because something is ‘free’, that they need to have it.  Children who take without questioning.  Children who hold their hand out and expect someone to fill it.  Children who do not understand the value of hard work or appreciate the satisfaction of earning what is given.

It’s just breakfast, some would say.  A muffin and some juice.  But it’s more than that.  It’s about integrity.  It’s about what’s right.  It’s about understanding that hard work is the only path to take and there is no such thing as a free ride.

Not in this family.

68 Responses to "Free…To Whom?"
  1. Laurajoem says:

    Tried explaining that to my 15 yr old who was used to only getting hand outs until he came to live with us seven yrs ao. Last winter I bought him a very nice expensive jacket. He is the skinniest kid so I buy Levis because they fit him better. He did not LIKE the jacket so he dumped it on a bench at the high school he attends. Then would come home everyday with a diffrent “barrowed Jacket” from the school! I endlessly explained why that was wrong to no avail, then around Christmas The P.A.L. program supplied hoodies to all the kids who didn’t have anything warm. Well my kid gladly accepted his!!! I was LIVID!!! I explained those were for kids who couldn’t get thier own! Not for spoiled brats who judt didn’t like the jacket he got from home!! Now there was a kid who couldn’t get one and wouldn’t because my kid took that one when he in no way needed it. I also pointed out that he should be ashamed of himself walking around wearing expensive clothes trying to make people think he is need. I think he understood this time! My hubby is the only one who works outside the house, I’m sure we quialfy for all kinds of low-income programs, but we do quite well on our own, so i say leave it for the next person who NEEDS it. You’d want it to be there if you ever needed it!

  2. My 17yo just came through so I asked him if he would partake if the school offered free breakfast – even after he had his usual 2 egg & toast breakfast here.  His response was “ya, probably”.  So I followed up with “why”?  
    The situation here is that all kids have a “card” and they get all meals with this card – if free meals, the parents don’t get a bill.  If you pay for meals, the school sends a bill to the house.  
    So his brain kicked in and he realized this was one of those moral questions I am always hitting him with.  And he said, “ok, so probably not”. I followed up with “why not”?

    • I love it…’why not?’…make him think!    I mentioned this blog to Destini and she said, “You never let me eat the free breakfast when I was little…why should you let them?”

      • carrielee says:

        I cannot understand the commenters who are critical here. These services exist for people who NEED them. Noone would deny a truly needy person these programs. But your family obviously isn’t in this position. I applaud you for teaching your kids that NOTHING the government gives you is “free”. I linked to this post today.

  3. Kim Turner says:

    I agree with you! I always tell my kids, “Just think, what if one kid who really needed breakfast didn’t get it this morning because you ate and then they didn’t have enough?”  I apply that theory in everything I do and I hope my kids learn from it 🙂

  4. MaidMarian says:

    You so Rock!

  5. Ritzysmom says:

    Here in Hawaii, the forms for free lunches (which if you qualified would also get you a free ride on the bus while everyone else pays $270 for the year) part of my pile of paperwork to fill out for my kids, too. I couldn’t get my 8th grader’s schedule unless I filled out that form. But when I balked at it—outright told the lady at that station that my family didn’t take welfare (besides,I didn’t want to list all 4 of my kids or put down for anyone to see what my family’s income is since we can afford to take care of ourselves)—she told me I could just put our name at the top and slash through rest of the page.
    My dad lost his farm when I was 12 and he and mom went back to college, while having 5 kids to support. We got assistance which included free lunches, as much as my dad hate, hate, HATED doing it.  The free breakfast program began my senior year of high school. We got breakfast before we left home, which was good because we rode the bus for an hour and a half before we got to school. It would have been wasteful to do so, and would have been overeating to eat the free breakfast after I’d already one at home.. Besides it was all pretty sugary junk anyway. A couple of times I got the breakfast when they had doughnuts because that was something my mom wouldn’t buy even when she had the money.
    I had 3 friends in a playgroup I was in a few years ago tell me I should apply for WIC for my 3 little kids because they did and since my husband was the same rank (Army) I would probably qualify too since I had 4 kids all together, more than any of them did. My husband made more because he’d been in the Army a lot longer than theirs had, so I doubted it, but I didn’t didn’t see the point either way. I was making all my bills just fine, feeding my kids just fine, and had money to buy or do anything I wanted because I managed my money well and budgeted. I wasn’t going to take money I didn’t really need when there are so many out there that needed it much, much more. Our home state of Illinois has eliminated or greatly trimmed a lot of programs in the past 9 months because there just isn’t enough money, and I wonder how many people are losing out who really need it because people that could have managed just fine without it took the program just because a piece of paper says they qualify for it.

  6. There is no such thing as a free lunch! This is what I live by. But the simple fact is many have been fooled to believe otherwise… We are  only as good as a people as we are good as individuals. Leave a public space better than when you got there, take a penny if you need it but leave one next time, smile and be nice even if you feel bad… These are the little things we can do to save are self’s and I hope the world….

  7. Barb says:

    Thank you Kerry…so right!

  8. Momgoesincircles says:

    I understand the principle of what you’re saying. I also understand that regardless, the untaken food will end up in the trash bin. Whether your children ‘need’ the extra nutrition or extra food or not…it’s better in their bellies than in the waste pile.

    • Amanda says:

      What’s more wasteful to eat food you don’t need or to throw it away? Also it doesn’t just get thrown away it gets saved for another meal. Often the schools will do a leftovers day to use what didn’t get eaten earlier in the week.

  9. Amanda says:

    Thank you again for another thought provoking post. My oldest is in Kindergarten so he’s not at school for any of  meals, yet they still insisted that I fill out the paperwork to see if he qualified for free meals and they had me list my other two kids that aren’t even in school yet, because for every qualified child the school gets money. At the time I had all three kids with me trying to get the oldest registered so I was stressed trying to keep track of all the kids and I was thinking very clearly. Looking back I wish that I had used my moral compass a little better, I didn’t quite fell right about it but I didn’t allow myself to think about why it didn’t feel right. I was told that even being in K he could still come to school early to get lunch, but in order for me to get him to school early I have to take his father to work in the morning (20 mi round trip) which negates the savings of having him eat lunch at school. I’m still kicking myself for allowing myself to get caught up in the whole “it helps get money for the school” mentality. 

    I hate how these programs get abused. I know that people feel they are needed, but why does the government have to provide it? Why can’t people just work together to help fill a need within a community? I think we’d all be happier either providing the service to those in need or being the recipient knowing that it came from a loving, caring neighbor instead of some government entity that isn’t even using the funds allotted to their best advantage. I could keep going, but I think I’ll step down off of my soap box for now. 

    • Valerie Pienaar Landon says:

      Let me join you on your soapbox! As a taxpayer, I bitterly resent the abuse of enforced “charity”. People need to take responsibility for themselves, and communities need to take care of their own – there will always be people who need help, whether for a lifetime or just to get them through a rough patch. There’s no shame in accepting help when you need it. But help should come from a neighbor – someone who knows you and cares about you – not from some faceless Big Brother entity that robs us of our dignity as individuals!

      • Cait says:

        I can’t help but wish I had the luxury of this point of view.  My husband lost his job earlier this summer, and I’m up to my eyeballs in debt (can’t quit school in the middle, or I’ll never get a job to repay the loans).  Our kids get ‘free’ lunches, and I’m deeply grateful for them.  I wouldn’t turn them down for the world.  If we asked our neighbors to give us lunches for our kids, they would laugh in our faces (Realistically, neighbors who care deeply about you are few and far between. Sad but true.).  Finally, I feel absolutely zero shame in accepting help from the government until we can fend for ourselves again, because *we* paid taxes too, until the crisis came.  Perhaps, you could take a different point of view into account next time?
        One of these days, we will be debt free.  We will have the means to pay it forward, and we will.  Until then, we will use *every* resource available to us to ensure that our children don’t go without basic necessities like meals.

        • Cait, I do hope you realized I am in support of the programs…when needed. Obviously in your situation you are getting a helping hand while going to school and digging your way out. Bravo.  Many, many people, however, take advantage of such programs and use them as a means of livelihood rather than a temporary crutch.  I’ve been on welfare.  I’ve been a single mother. I’ve used the free lunch program in the past.  My point was, my kids are not understanding that ‘free’ costs somebody something.  “free” breakfast does not mean pig out at someone else’s expense even though they just gorged themselves at home….just because they can. Does that make sense?

        • Meg says:

          Cait, I thought you would like Keri’s post as I believe her point was in defense of someone in your situation. Some people need this program, she disaproves of those using it when they don’t because it takes from someone else. I dunno, maybe I read a different blog.

          • Mommywittandwisdom says:

            Cait wasn’t replying to Keri’s post. Cait was replying to the comment made that because we accept help where it is offered we are not taking responsibility for ourselves. I suggest that some people need to take a step back and realize that the dignity they feel they are being robbed of, feeds a poor child who may only get school lunch/breakfast as their only meal. I was that child once and I was extremely grateful for the “free” school lunch that was offered to me.
            Now that I have children of my own, even though we qualify for the “free” lunch, we don’t participate in it. I pay for lunch or send lunches with my son because we don’t need it. But I guarantee if we were in the situation where we needed help and help was there, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it.

  10. Rivers3Lady says:

    Very well said!

  11. John Steinbeck says:

    Somehow I doubt that any of your kids will ever think there is a free ride anywhere in life. Good lord girl, you’re building your own place, and making them help.

    I think the best thing you can do about the food is instill in them that if you’re hungry, it’s okay to eat, but make darn sure you eat what you take, and take no more than you need. It’s harder to keep kids full than it is to heat a drafty house with a woodstove.

    There is a school of thought that 4-5 smaller ‘meals’ over the day are better for you than the 3 traditional meals, where you load up then have a ‘crash’ after eating so much.

    Finally, technically this isn’t free, you’ve already paid for it in the form of taxes. I’d rather see the kids eat it than it be thrown out. And there is nothing wrong with pizza for breakfast. I’ve eaten cold pizza many times over the years and I’m ok. Of course this was back in the dark ages before the advent of microwaves……

    • Good points. 🙂  This year our school has a grant program for a snack 3 times a week. I gladly allow my kids to eat the  mid day snack, because they are hungry and it is being offered. No problem. It is when they gorge themselves at my house then twenty minutes later do the same thing at school just because it is free…that is where I have the problem. 🙂

  12. Kathy says:

    I wish I could REALLY SUPER DUPER LIKE!  It’s breeding an entitlement philosophy in our kids and that deprives them of that awesome feeling which is the reward of working hard and achieving or earning yourself.  

    Innocently blinded by their stomachs in this case, it’s preventing them from looking around and making sure someone else doesn’t NEED as opposed to want that breakfast. It’s training them: to not be aware of others around them. It’s also a wonderful teaching opportunity you’ve observed, to awaken their little egocentric developing minds to the greater world around them.  Hopefully that carries through to teen years, I’m deep into it with 4 teen models and believe me it’s a huge struggle at this age to bring awareness to people outside themselves.  I thought I trained them well but feel like an epic fail most days, especially when I walk into the kitchen where my semi-independent offspring have left a wake of destruction, i.e. frozen food they didn’t use left out overnight after preparing a late night snack, drippings and spills on the counter, pans and dishes on the stove, counter or just plopped in the sink right next to the empty dishwasher.  It doesn’t stop here either, the assumption is mom = taxi, subsidizer of fun, clothing or entertainment at any time with a moments notice.  And even the little inconsiderations, like changing the radio station in the middle of a song I’m singing along to because “they don’t like it”. This all points to an inflated sense of ego.  My peers with teens express the same frustration, and seem to accept it as developmentally appropriate.  I cringe at this assumption because I didn’t do it, I don’t and have never allowed it, and yet we have decayed to this horrific state of co-existing since my kids began schooling outside instead of home schooling.  Aside from going on strike, shutting down the kitchen outside of meal times, (or throwing away my dishes & pans like the psychologist suggested – I think HE needs therapy), or simply resigning as most teen parents have done for the sake of peace, I seem powerless to change the tide and it appears for now to be hopeless … I’m outnumbered!  

    I truly believe it’s the price I pay for cultivating our child centered family, trying to give them the best of every opportunity life presented as all my peers were doing.  I’m not a fan of the “children should be seen and not heard” or sweatshop era, but the pendulum has swung far to the other extreme and it’s time we bring it back to the middle ground.  My situation will be an endurance contest; I’ve given up asking, demanding, and screaming, and I simply clean up the mess, tolerate the inconsideration but draw the line at disrespect.  I do see my almost 20 year old rounding the corner – when she’s home from college she voluntarily manages the endless flow of dishes now!  It’s been a long awaited miracle.  

    If I had a an opportunity for a re-take, assigned chores would be matter of fact and daily,  and there would be consequences for not doing them and keeping their rooms neat and tidy. I assigned chores,  but I was weak and didn’t enforce them being done consistently.  There would be less democracy and less accommodating and I would demonstrate that what others want/need matters too.  Not to be mean, but to help them learn that life isn’t all about them, with the hope they ultimately realize they’ll survive if their every whim isn’t met … immediately!  I’d praise more for accomplishments and jobs well done, and let them fail and re-etry until they get it right to learn perseverance, become resilient and gain a proper self-esteem – one not from fluffing but from a job well done.  Nothing irks me more than trophies for participating, didn’t they participate because they thought it was fun and wanted to?  Isn’t that reward enough?  

    I sometimes think, albeit with the best of loving intentions, we are are own worst enemies, creating ego centric little cuties that grow up to be teenage trials.  It’s not about giving our kids what we always wanted, it’s about raising healthy, happy, self-sufficient, well adjusted, socially and morally responsible adults. We have to make decisions along the way need to support our desired end result.

    • Valerie Pienaar Landon says:

      It’s easy to comment and make suggestions from the outside … but speaking as a mom who survived raising a teenager – and made pretty much every mistake in the book – how about setting some very basic boundaries and then enforcing them? For instance … you could tell your kids that you accept that it’s your responsibility to  buy food, cook it, serve it, and clean the kitchen afterwards (because while it would be nice if they’d share those chores, getting them to do so might be too much of a battle at this stage).

      However, you do NOT have to buy food that you don’t personally enjoy or believe is healthy (so quit getting the frozen junk that they love – or get just a limited amount, and don’t replace what they waste), and you don’t have to cook in a messy kitchen, and you don’t have to wait for them to decide to turn up for meals, or cook something different for kids who are experimenting with veganism or on diet or don’t like whatever. (I’m assuming that these are all behaviors you’re experiencing.)

      Then dig in your heels. If you come down to the kitchen in the morning and the kitchen is a mess, walk out of it and refuse to go back in there until the culprit – or in fact anybody who isn’t you – cleans up. The ones who didn’t make the mess will scream “Unfair!” – and you can point out that yes, it is very unfair that you should be treated like a despised servant in your own home. Then, if they carry on screaming, get a book and head for the nearest Starbucks and let them figure it out. They can call you and ASK you to come home when they’ve dealt with the problem between themselves.

      In the same way, if someone doesn’t turn up for meals on time, up to you whether you leave their plate waiting for them and congealing on the kitchen counter, or toss the food in the trash – bottom line, it’s not your job to make sure it’s tasty if they don’t turn up on time. If you buy enough ice cream to last for two weeks and they eat it all in two days, or leave it out to melt, don’t replace it until the two weeks is up.

      This isn’t about punishment – it’s about consequences, and as such it’s a real life lesson.

      They will be nasty. They will be angry, manipulative and resentful. Your friends are right – this is “age-appropriate behavior” – which means it shouldn’t surprise you or make you feel like a failure. However … as parents it’s our job to civilize our kids and teach them “human-appropriate behavior” and we don’t do this by turning a blind eye when they behave like savages, or by letting them turn us into victims. You have to be smarter and tougher than your kids, and you have to show more endurance than you ever did during the nights of walking the floor when they had colic.

      Good luck, and hang in there!

    • Anonymoose! says:

      Oh girl, you need to shut that not only the kitchen down, but everything else that isn’t an absolute necessity.  Yes, they will HATE you.  Yes they will make you feel like gynormous piece of pond scum.  And yes, the tears and whines and arguments will nearly break you down.  HOWEVER, you are failing to teach them RESPECT for you and a multitude of other lessons.  If they treat their own mother in this manner, do you often wonder how they treat others outside the home??  Ouch!  

      Best part when it’s over….they actually thank you.  

  13. You are right on! Even when times get tough, we don’t need to look straight to someone else to fill our needs-we need to look to our selves and ask “what can I do to help myself, and while I’m at it-what can I do to help someone else?” This is so hard to teach our children.

  14. I always have use the argument that free programs like that are for people who really need them.  Someone bought food to help others, and if people who don’t need it take it, then there is still someone left hungry.

  15. Beverlyrharris says:

    Keri I use the same arguement when people (clients) inform me they pay my salary as tax payers.  I sigh and say, “so do I’. 

  16. Semorales64 says:

    Thank you, Keri, for telling it like it is on a subject that is near and dear to my heart.    As a classroom teacher, I saw so much abuse of the free meal, especially breakfast, program.  As a taxpayer, I am happy to provide for children whose parents can’t (or won’t, as I witnessed) provide them with a nutritious breakfast each day.  As a matter of fact, before there was such a program, I bought, out of my own pocket, cheese and crackers to keep handy in my room for children who didn’t get breakfast at home and needed something to tide them over until lunchtime.  I continued to do so even after the free breakfast was started to have something on hand for students whose parents would not get them there on time to partake of the free breakfast.  On a regular basis, some little kid would tell me,  “I had breakfast 3 times today.”   “How did you do that?”   “Well, I ate at home, then I ate at daycare, and then I ate here. ”    Childhood obesity????   That is abuse that really gets my goat, and the parents who don’t seem to be able to get up early enough to fix breakfast for their 1 or 2 kids when they are able to, when people like you seem to be able to do it for your numerous kids.  They don’t seem to realize that is part and parcel of having kids.   

    The same thing goes for (so-called) free coats and backpacks, etc.  I OFTEN saw kids throw their coats and backpacks around, and I would say to them,   “You put that coat (backpack) up off of the floor.  Your mama worked hard to pay for that coat (backpack).”  “No, she didn’t.  It was free.”  “Your mama might not have worked hard to pay for that coat (backpack), but SOMEBODY did.”  “They did?”  And then I would explain to them about people who were willing to spend there own money to help people out and contribute to society when they didn’t really have to.  It was eye-opening for most of them, because they had never heard that part of the equation before.  I don’t know if my influence about that topic made any difference to them as they grew up or not, but I hope so. 

  17. kathylhiatt says:

    I’ve got a question, why does the average person have to pay 20% of their earnings to the government while the people who make millions don’t?  I mean, wouldn’t the country be in the black if they taxed everyone equally?  Here’s another one,  Don’t you think it would make more sense for the people teaching our children, to receive enough money to live comfortably without having to take part time and summer jobs, which could be a possibility if those rich folks had to pay their 20%?

    • :) says:

      It may seem like the rich pay less but it’s a fallacy.  Don’t let those number cookers fool you. 

      And YES, teachers should earn more, but should also be vetted better.  A big portion of teachers not making a large wage has much to do with shorter hours than the typical 9-5.  At the end of the day, it’s still just a job like many others.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my teachers, but there are many jobs with low wages that are equally important and make the world go round.  I am all for year round school with breaks at intervals for kids.  It has proven highly successful.  

  18. Lady Jedi says:

    Don’t know if I can completly agree with you on this one.  I am from a large family.  My father would NEVER accept charity as he called it.  We NEVER had enough to eat and we learned to get along with a little. But I really believe the lack of nutition did me in in school.  I could not concentrate, I was always embarrassed because my stomach growled.  I know your kids do not need a free meal but my point is sometimes people who need should accept if not for the practicality of it.  I know I work harder now and my kids NEVER went without.  But I believe it came with a very high price tag. 
    I hope you understand my point. 

    • Oh, dont’ get me wrong…my point was not that the program is not needed, nor that people who need should not take.  My point was, my kids were stuffing themselves at home and then running for the free food…just because it was free. Had they been hungry or not had enough at home, then absolutely the child should partake.  Breakfast is super important.  But if a kid…or parent…is taking advantage of something ‘free’ just because it is free or they don’t want to provide for themsevles, that is wrong…in my opinion. 🙂

      • Lawrencenowvp says:

        I get the over the overall point you are making but as you said there is enough food and my guess would be at the end of it all there is going to be waste that ends up in the dumpster.  I have friends in the restaurant industry who have told me about all the trouble owners go through to destroy food going into dumpsters to keep people from taking it out like dumping bleach all over.  This is truly insulting.  This isn’t quite the same situation but it makes me think of the other.  I think having a talk about it is the right thing to do and until the school starts providing fewer rations it would feel right to me for the food to not go to waste.

        • Valerie Pienaar Landon says:

          I think it IS going to waste if the kids eat it “just because it’s free”, and not because they actually need it. A human being is not a dumpster, but that “eat it – don’t waste it” mentality teaches kids to eat more than their bodies need. How can that possibly be good?

        • I thought about this point of view, and figure if there are leftover on a regular basis, the portions would be reduced..but if the kids who don’t need it continue to consume, say 25% of the food…then the portions will continue in that amount. But if they stop…money will be saved. 🙂

          • Leah Markle says:

            I have worked in a public school cafeteria in Texas, and the managers are accountable for writing down how much is made and how much is consumed. Its funny what you say about eating something just because its “free.” I work in an office building and occasionally people put extra food or things they don’t want in the break room for someone else to enjoy. Sometimes I get a laugh and other times it makes me angry that when we get an email after a lunch party saying there is free food in the break room there is a stampede. It is not like any of these ladies need the extra food, truth be told they have some extra weight they should lose. I don’t know why people in general have this obsession with free. 

    • Ritzysmom says:

      I think the point is that those of us whose kids are eating just fine even though someone else thinks we make so little that we need support programs shouldn’t be jumping on the bandwagon of these programs if we are just fine and leave those resources for those who are truly in the situation you described you were in. 

  19. Vicky says:

    Well said.  I remember the first time I went to public school and was sent home with paperwork to fill out in order to get the “free” lunch because our household income was below the poverty level.  (There were nine kids still at home at that time.) My parents refused–sent us back to school with blank papers. My parents instilled in us that someone has to pay for those “free” lunches, i.e –the tax payers.  Why make taxes go up if we could work hard and trust God to provide our daily food?  If everyone taught their children that, our welfare programs could be trimmed down to help only those who genuinely cannot provide for themselves.

  20. Donna Schrader says:

    Logan and Austin used to do the same thing, until I told them
    “I feed you at home, that breakfast is for the kids who don’t have breakfast at home and if you eat it, that means someone that needs it might have to do without”  They thought about that a while and decided they didn’t need that second “free” breakfast afterall.

    • Donna, that is exactly what I explained to Anthony the other day. I told him there is a budget and once the budget runs out, there will be no more food. And then the kid who is hungry…will still be hungry…because Anthony ate food he didn’t need. I think he understood what I was trying to say.

  21. rebecca says:

    Another great post. It’s a great program, for those who need it. For those who don’t need it, a reminder to appreciate where there breakfast comes from.
    Your photo shows that the breakfast they are getting at home comes with a generous helping of love… something the free breakfast at school is probably lacking….

    • The other day they had pizza..for breakfast…who puts these things together, anyway? Seems like they shoudl be offering fruit and yogurt and oatmeal or something like that…not pizza!

      • Masters No says:

        maybe thats all they had at the time or was trying not to waste,,,,,if they should do fruit or yogurt then maybe it should be given @ home….

        • Masters, perhpas I didnt’ word that properly…my point was that if the breakfast program is there to offer nutrition, perhaps they should be offering nutritious food.  The program was not ‘trying not to waste’, as it is a grant program…it was just an odd choice, in my opinion. Didn’t seem like a healthy solution.

          • Jenine says:

            If we have hungry children we will feed them.  You can be in “need”  AND understand the meaning of hard work and what is humble?  And I don’t mean being humiliated.  It takes a village or you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.  Our school & community have a Growing Dome here in Colorado, our kitchen staff do an excellent job preparing healthy everything. It takes a village.  Maybe your kitchen pizza for breakfast staff could use help, not criticism?  Your point about nothing is free is also right on.  I get it and is what we must teach, but not at the expense of hungry children.  I don’t think we should worry about taxes from education. Education is being CUT not taxed these days.  325 million in one district alone here in Col.  We should all be WANTING to pay higher taxes so our classrooms (OUR CHILDREN!) have what they need.  35 kids in 6th grade 85% male is not a good solution to cutting taxes,  And that’s what we’re dealt with these days.  
            Jenine, A teacher who loves her job, but it’s getting out of hand and wi/out our village we would not be ok.

          • Dhillyard says:

            I understand your point about “we should all be wanting to pay higher taxes” so our classrooms and children have what they need. If I had any guarantee from the government that this, and not something else, would get my tax money – I would be right on board.
            Sadly, they are more likely to spend it on junkets to foreign countries for themselves and their families – where Army officers wives are forced to host and entertain their families and take them shopping and all kinds of crap – even on holidays. As long as we continue to be “served” by the “self-serving” I want to keep my tax dollars to myself and use my money to donate school supplies and classroom materials directly to the school.

          • Jenine says:

            We have felt the cuts.  Our community supported a Mill Levy Tax which we used to keep our classroom sizes NORMAL.  And it’s working this year.  Please support your Mill Levy Taxes. 

          • I think people are mistaking what I said. I never said the program was bad. In fact, I praised the program for it’s necessity. My point is, MY kids are acting like greedy gluttons. That is all. If my kids needed the breakfast, I’d let them have it. They do not. They are taking simply because it is free and for no other reason. And in my opinion, they need to learn a lesson on that end.

          • Meg says:

            Oh dear. I don’t understand why people have mistaken this blog. I feel it was well written and true. Keri, I for one understood your intention and I applaud it.

          • kathylhiatt says:

            Sorry for getting off track Keri, I just thought it was obvious what you were saying, and obvious that you are right.  It just makes me angry that they are cutting teachers and school programs when that’s where they should be spending the most.  

          • Jenine says:

            I agree with you and I have not mistaken the blog.  I just believe there is another, just as relevant point that often gets missed. 

          • Jenine says:

            I didn’t mean to go off track and I completely agree with your point… do you need the breakfast or not?  BUT, there is just a deeper issue to what you said, obviously, and like we discussed the “problem” is kids need help reading, and schools need help funding that… everything else is consequential…  we need, I believe, to see beyond the red tape or be trapped by it…    

      • HFISCH0919 says:

        Our breakfast program at school is wonderful, mainly because we have an abundance of students that go without regularly, BUT… we have on more than one occasional had cheese sticks and fruit snacks as their breakfast, another time Graham crackers and a fruit roll up. What part of that makes it healthy?

        • Amity says:

          Our schools here offer chocolate glazed doughnuts, pop tarts, powdered sugar doughnuts, danishes, pizza, pops, coco puffs, frosted flakes, french toast sticks and of course they have wonderful bowls of fruit (albeit covered in heavy syrup) to go with chocolate/strawberry milk. And then you look at the “# of kids with ADD/ADHD” and it is over 50% hummmmm are they ADHD or they hyped up on sugar at 7:30am????????

      • Holnash says:

        Then again, I have a daughter who very rarely eats a traditional breakfast.  But she LOVES leftover meatloaf, pasta, rice & beans etc. for breaky!  Then comes the challenge of what to put together for her lunch – lol.

      • Elizabeth Hawley says:

        Hi – as someone who worked in a school kitchen, that pizza has gravy instead of red sauce – along with cheese and sausage. Frankly, it’s gross, but the kids always seem to like it. Also, on the free food program they do have to provide a certain amount of fruit, veggies, grain, meat or meat alternative with each meal. Depending on the school size status, they may choose to “offer” or “serve” – which basically means they let the kids choose  what they want or they give out a full tray. Even if it is “offer” the kids have to choose at least three options. Also, if you look at this way – if the kitchen prepares for 70 kids for breakfast – because it is frowned upon to run out of breakfast (or lunch), and only has 40 kids eat, then they lose that amount of reimbursement. They can only request reimbursement on the amount of kids served, not the amount of food cooked. The food program is also awarded a certain amount of commodities from the government, which covers a certain amount of their budget.  What the school serves is sometimes up to the kitchen manager, and some are more creative than others. Our school does offer fruit, oatmeal and yogurt – other schools don’t. Of course, the school district may demand that all schools in your area serve the same food, so they may just be told what to get. It is a beneficial program which can be abused, but it is that way with other programs too, like state insurance. It cannot be “free” unless paperwork is completed. However, if it is noted in their paperwork that they are foster kids, then that is why it is free. Foster kids have certain rights from the state, including insurance and other benefits. It is awesome that you are providing an awesome breakfast for your kids, and they should not get the free breakfast if you don’t want them to do so. 

        • Nice comment! Good point on the reimbursement program, I was not aware how that worked. And yes, foster kids are allowed free lunch which I don’t allow either. But for different reasons…I make them all cold lunch and since we are a family, we all eat the same food. I figure if I sent a foster kid off with a hot lunch they would be segregated…it’s part of how I make them feel like part of the family. We all suffer through the PB&J’s together. hahahaa Our school lunch program is pretty good and mostly offers good food. And our staff is fantastic. My point was, my kids were being greedy gluttons…and only taking it because it was “free”. I just want them to understand that there is a price for everything. 🙂

        • Nice comment! Good point on the reimbursement program, I was not aware how that worked. And yes, foster kids are allowed free lunch which I don’t allow either. But for different reasons…I make them all cold lunch and since we are a family, we all eat the same food. I figure if I sent a foster kid off with a hot lunch they would be segregated…it’s part of how I make them feel like part of the family. We all suffer through the PB&J’s together. hahahaa Our school lunch program is pretty good and mostly offers good food. And our staff is fantastic. My point was, my kids were being greedy gluttons…and only taking it because it was “free”. I just want them to understand that there is a price for everything. 🙂

      • anonymoose says:

        THAT is not acceptable! But then again, most of the food that goes through the school line is below par.  

        I suppose that was served on the same day that they give the kids French bread sticks for lunch right?! Grrr

      • Barb says:

        There was fruit and yogurt along with the breakfast pizza,I’m not defending the pizza(which is no longer on the menu) But we have fruit almost every day.

        • Barb, I was hoping you’d reply and fill us in. 🙂 I’m glad the pizza is gone…and glad you saw the point I was trying to make, which it seems some missed. I love the program, and you and I both know it is needed in our community. My point was…and it could have NOTHING to do with breakfast…is that my kids are being greedy gluttons and taking what they do not need just because it is there. THAT is what I don’t agree with whether it be food, toys, or just rocks from the neighbor…if they are not needed, they need to be left alone. Ya know what I mean?!! 🙂

      • Barb says:

        As to who makes this stuff up…Washington DC

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